EPA To Alaskans In Sub-Zero Temps: Stop Burning Wood To Keep Warm
– True Pundit
“Like most people in Alaska, the residents of those frozen cities are burning wood to keep themselves warm this winter. Smoke from wood-burning stoves increases small-particle pollution, which settles in low-lying areas and can be breathed in. The EPA thinks this is a big problem. Eight years ago, the agency ruled that wide swaths of the most densely populated parts of the region were in “non-attainment” of federal air quality standards.
That prompted state and local authorities to look for ways to cut down on pollution from wood-burning stoves, including the possibility of fining residents who burn wood. After all, a declaration of noncompliance from the EPA would have enormous economic implications for the region, like the loss of federal transportation funding.”
“In the morning while walking to her car, Michelle Kennedy sometimes detects a smell like cat urine. She says the asthma her 6-year-old suffers seems to have worsened.
Kennedy suspects the oil and gas wells pumping in her South Los Angeles neighborhood. She was especially troubled to hear from neighbors that acid was being injected in some wells roughly a mile from her home.
Now, partly in response to concerns raised by Kennedy and her neighbors, the City Council on Friday moved toward banning hydraulic fracturing, acidizing and other controversial methods of coaxing oil and gas from wells, agreeing to draft new rules that would prohibit “well stimulation” until adequate environmental safeguards are adopted by state and federal governments.
Activists argue that methods such as hydraulic fracturing, often referred to as fracking, can taint water or trigger earthquakes when wastewater is injected underground.
“Until these radical methods of oil and gas extraction are at the very least covered by the Safe Drinking Water Act, until chemicals are disclosed and problems are honestly reported, until we’re safe from earthquakes, until our atmosphere is safe from methane leaks, we need a fracking moratorium,” Councilman Paul Koretz told a cheering crowd before the meeting.
Hydraulic fracturing frees up pockets of oil and natural gas trapped in shale using injections of water mixed with chemicals. Acidizing, which is more commonly reported in Los Angeles, involves injecting such chemicals as hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid into wells. Such “extreme extraction methods” use chemicals that can harm the skin, eyes and respiratory system and cause cancer, said Angela Johnson Meszaros, general counsel for Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.
Oil and gas companies say fracking and other well stimulation technologies are safe, proven ways to yield more energy and generate jobs. Nick Ortiz of the Western States Petroleum Assn. told council members at a meeting this week that such methods had “never been associated with any confirmed case of groundwater contamination.” Business groups such as the Valley Industry and Commerce Assn. also contended that Los Angeles doesn’t need new rules because California lawmakers passed fracking regulations last year.
“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Rock Zierman, chief executive of the California Independent Petroleum Assn. He cited a yearlong study of the Inglewood Oil Field, which found that hydraulic fracturing had no effect on the environment or the health of people living nearby.
Environmental watchdogs said the Inglewood study failed to examine long-term risks, such as chemicals possibly sullying groundwater. Other research has raised concerns about increased levels of methane in drinking water wells near fracking operations in Pennsylvania. Many environmentalists say the new state regulations didn’t go far enough.
Under the state law, “We’re basically telling people, ‘Let yourself be guinea pigs and we’ll study this. If this is a problem, we’ll tell you after the fact,'” said Brenna Norton, Southern California organizer for the environmental group Food & Water Watch.
When a neighbor recently told Lillian Marenco that acid had been used at nearby wells, she clapped her hands over her cheeks. “Oh, God,” she said. One drilling site is down her Budlong Avenue block. A pungent smell lingers over the home where Marenco tends her garden.
Acid has been used for “well stimulation” there in the last year, according to data reported to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. But what that means is in dispute. The company that operates the wells, Freeport-McMoRan, says it undertook “routine maintenance operations” using low volumes of acid, not “acidizing” as activists have described it.
The debate underscores a key question facing the city: How to properly word the proposed fracking ban.
Freeport-McMoRan spokesman Eric Kinneberg argued that the “generic scope” of the current proposal “could prohibit even routine well maintenance activities.” Neighborhood activists have the opposite worry — that a ban won’t be comprehensive enough.”
Question: Where is the environmental governor? Where is Jerry Brown on poisoning our environment? He was missing in action when the Aliso Canyon gas leak destroyed the lives of 5000 Californian families. Governor Moonbeam as usual is MIA again. /CJ
Identifying mystery rotten egg smell attacking SF this week
– SF Curbed
“It sounds like the setup for a joke, but apparently more than 50 people on Wednesday really did report a mysterious and overpowering odor of rotten eggs across the city.
It wasn’t a gas leak, it wasn’t a chemical or oil spill at sea, and it wasn’t the Chevron refinery acting up.
Which is all great news, but that leaves the lingering (literally—some people are still smelling it) mystery of what it actually was?
Some people will tell you that the mysterious smell of rotten eggs mean your house is haunted. So there’s that.
On a slightly less outlandish note, mysterious odors are sometimes simple mass hysteria: One person kinda-sorta thinks he or she smells something, and within minutes the mistaken impression spreads.
But assuming there was a natural, material source for the weird affliction, it turns out there’s a lot of precedent to consider.
For whatever reason, mystery waves of rotten egg smell are quite common in coastal cities.”
What it’s like to have 30 oil & gas wells as neighbors
“The first thing Don Martin asks me is if I want the little picture or the big picture. Big picture, I tell him, and he leads me from the gate of his apartment complex to the driveway of his next-door neighbor.
Martin’s neighbor is Freeport McMoRan, a company worth $30 billion. Freeport’s property beside Martin is just one tiny sliver of an empire that spans continents and includes some of the largest gold and copper mines in the world.
But Freeport is not mining for precious metals next to Martin — this is Los Angeles. Instead, Freeport is drilling for oil. It’s hard to see from the street. If you’re driving through West Adams, a tightly packed residential neighborhood in south central L.A., you’re liable to miss the whole operation.
From the road, all you can see is a strip of manicured lawn, egg-shaped hedges, and a green cement wall. Before a soundwall (which looks like canvas hung several stories from metal I-beams) was erected last year and a drilling rig peaked over the top, most neighbors had no idea this was a facility that includes more than 30 wells, 22 of which are active oil and gas wells. Pipelines snake out from here underground in a matrix that connects two sister sites, each about a mile and a half away in opposite directions. All three sites are owned by Freeport McMoRan Oil and Gas, acquired in 2013 when Freeport gobbled up oil company Plains Exploration.
The Freeport property next to Martin’s apartment is known as the Murphy drill site (named after the Daniel Murphy mansion, which was demolished in 1960 to drill the wells). We can’t see inside the site, and a large sign warns of no trespassing. Another smaller says that, “This area contains chemicals known by the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”
“They want to keep us out, but do they keep their chemicals in?” asks Martin.
To answer his question he leads me back into his apartment complex, St. Andrews Gardens, a sprawling arrangement of stucco units each a couple of stories high. We stand in a small parking lot, and even with the drilling tower looming behind him Martin is imposing in stature, with a broad build, bald head, and a white mustache and goatee. But he has a gentle demeanor. As he talks, his words indicate a growing outrage, but his voice never rises.
Other than Freeport’s wall, this plot of asphalt is the only thing that sits between an industrial operation and the open windows of residents’ homes, he says.
The first thing I notice is the smell — it’s the kind that makes your stomach turn and your head feel light — like you’ve taken too many deep breaths next to a gas pump. About 30 yards from us is cluster of kids who have gathered at a play area at the end of the parking lot to ride bikes, shoot hoops, and hang out.”
Mapping All 3,000 of Los Angeles’s Active Oil Wells
– Curbed Los Angeles
“Los Angeles is an oil town and it has been for a long time. We know oil flows throughout LA in underground pipelines, that there is oil being extracted from under the Beverly Center right now, and that even pampered Beverly Hills High has a flowery, art-bedecked oil derrick (for now). But somehow the exact numbers are still surprising: there are now 3,000 active oil wells in LA County, says the LA Daily News. Would you like to know where they are? An interactive map created by the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources of the California Department of Conservation allows users to locate all the wells in California, see who maintains each one, and view information about permits on the wells—way more transparent than the Skull-and-Bones-level secrecy surrounding pipelines. (We highly recommend this page about how to work the map.) Go ahead: put in your address and see what’s gushing nearby.”
Illegal Alien Charged With Raping Teenage Girl Has Been Deported, Removed 19 Times
– Daily Caller
“An illegal alien from Mexico who was recently charged with raping a 13-year-old girl on a Greyhound bus has been removed or deported from the U.S. a total of 19 times since 2003.
According to The Associated Press, the illegal alien, Tomas Martinez-Maldonado, faces felony charges for a Sept. 27 attack on the girl. Police say the Mexican national raped the girl during a bus ride outside of Kansas City.
The AP found that Martinez-Maldonado, 38, was voluntarily removed from the U.S. nine times from 2003 through 2010.
He was deported five times from 2011 through 2013 and again in early 2014 after being jailed for illegal reentry. He was deported once more in 2014 and twice again last year. His last deportation occurred last October.”
Obama’s ‘Red Carpet’: Feds Dump 40 Migrants at Texas Bus Stop
“Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents released a group of 40 women who illegally entered the United States from Central American countries at a bus station in south Texas. The influx of women and children illegally crossing the border from Mexico has been increasing steadily over the past year.
The women from Central America were seen being dropped off Thursday night by ICE officials at the bus station in Laredo, Texas, KGNS reported. The women were released with their personal belongings and a promise to appear before an immigration judge at some point in the future.
“President Obama has rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants,” Border Patrol Agent Hector Garza told Breitbart Texas Thursday night. Garza spoke with Breitbart Texas in his role as president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455. “Most of the illegal immigrant families and unaccompanied children used to cross in the Rio Grande Valley. Now we are seeing massive numbers in the Laredo Sector as well.”
After being apprehended by Border Patrol agents, the women were processed by ICE officials and taken to the Laredo bus station with a promise to appear in court at a later time. The destination for the women being dropped at the bus station was not reported, but it is likely they will head to Houston or San Antonio before moving on to locations around the country.”
“In an extraordinary development Thursday, the Obama administration announced a series of sanctions against Russia. Thirty-five Russian nationals will be expelled from the country. President Obama issued a terse statement seeming to blame Russia for the hack of the Democratic National Committee emails.
“These data theft and disclosure activities could only have been directed by the highest levels of the Russian government,” he wrote.
Russia at first pledged, darkly, to retaliate, then backed off. The Russian press today is even reporting that Vladimir Putin is inviting “the children of American diplomats” to “visit the Christmas tree in the Kremlin,” as characteristically loathsome/menacing/sarcastic a Putin response as you’ll find.
This dramatic story puts the news media in a jackpot. Absent independent verification, reporters will have to rely upon the secret assessments of intelligence agencies to cover the story at all.
Many reporters I know are quietly freaking out about having to go through that again. We all remember the WMD fiasco.
“It’s déjà vu all over again” is how one friend put it.
You can see awkwardness reflected in the headlines that flew around the Internet Thursday. Some news agencies seemed split on whether to unequivocally declare that Russian hacking took place, or whether to hedge bets and put it all on the government to make that declaration, using “Obama says” formulations.
The New York Times was more aggressive, writing flatly, “Obama Strikes Back at Russia for Election Hacking.” It backed up its story with a link to a joint FBI/Homeland Security report that details how Russian civilian and military intelligence services (termed “RIS” in the report) twice breached the defenses of “a U.S. political party,” presumably the Democrats.
This report is long on jargon but short on specifics. More than half of it is just a list of suggestions for preventive measures.
At one point we learn that the code name the U.S. intelligence community has given to Russian cyber shenanigans is GRIZZLY STEPPE, a sexy enough detail.
But we don’t learn much at all about what led our government to determine a) that these hacks were directed by the Russian government, or b) they were undertaken with the aim of influencing the election, and in particular to help elect Donald Trump.
The problem with this story is that, like the Iraq-WMD mess, it takes place in the middle of a highly politicized environment during which the motives of all the relevant actors are suspect. Nothing quite adds up.
If the American security agencies had smoking-gun evidence that the Russians had an organized campaign to derail the U.S. presidential election and deliver the White House to Trump, then expelling a few dozen diplomats after the election seems like an oddly weak and ill-timed response. Voices in both parties are saying this now.”
DMV licensed 800,000 undocumented immigrants under 2-year-old law
– San Jose Mercury News
“On the day that California officials implemented a controversial law that allows undocumented residents to obtain driver’s licenses, DMV offices throughout the state were packed with immigrants looking to take advantage of the opportunity.
Two years after the implementation of AB 60 on Jan. 1, 2015, an estimated 806,000 undocumented residents have received driver’s licenses, according to Department of Motor Vehicles statistics this month. About 14,000 of these licenses were issued in November alone, the DMV said.
The law has allowed undocumented residents to come out of the shadows and drive safely in their neighborhoods, according to Maricela Gutierrez, executive director of the immigration advocacy organization, SIREN.
“Many of them have been able to drive their kids to school and to run errands, when many times they were taking buses that would take them up to three hours to get from point A to point B,” she said. “It opened up new opportunities.”
One San Jose resident who applied for a license just a few days after AB 60 went into effect received his license in the mail shortly after.
“It’s a completely different feeling because you no longer have to worry about seeing a police car,” said the 46-year-old, who asked to be identified only by his first name, Ramon. “You’re much more at peace when you drive. You can drive long distances with your family — to Disneyland or to the Monterey Bay Aquarium — with confidence. You don’t live in fear.”
But as President-elect Donald Trump, who vowed an illegal immigration crackdown as a candidate, prepares to take office, the law is coming under renewed scrutiny.
Many of those who received driver’s licenses under the law now fear they’ll become deportation targets if federal immigration authorities can access their DMV information, despite assurances from state officials that it won’t happen.
Opponents argued the law would weaken immigration enforcement and questioned the public safety benefit, noting it didn’t guarantee undocumented immigrants receiving licenses would buy auto insurance.
Critics also point to another state “motor-voter” law, AB 1461, that starting in 2017 will automatically register most licensed California drivers to vote, arguing it could lead to election fraud if non-citizens barred from voting in federal elections become registered. State officials said there are safeguards in the system to prevent undocumented licensees from being registered to vote.
The DMV said law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can obtain driver’s license information — such as name, gender/description, address, date of birth and driver license number — through certain data-sharing systems. But the information doesn’t indicate their immigration status or whether they received licenses under AB60.”
“RAW Conservative reported on the new controversial “Moter Voter Law”, (Assembly Bill A.B 1461) recently and after some confusion from the readers, we would like to take the opportunity to explain the seriousness of this law and why it will inevitably allow Illegal Aliens to vote. One of the criticisms of our report, was making the assumption in the headline, that Illegal Aliens will now be allowed to vote in elections as a result of this law. To clarify, they will not be allowed to vote in elections, but only if they tell the truth when applying for a drivers license. This is the main cause of concern when you combine how existing immigration laws are not enforced in California, it’s sanctuary cities, and the fact that an ID is not required in order to vote.
Let’s break down the key provisions in this new law that are just begging for Illegal voters. We truly believe this law signed by Gov. Brown, is treading on Unconstitutional and treasonous.
The law states:
“The New Motor Voter Act automatically registers to vote all eligible voters when they obtain or renew their drivers licenses at the Department of Motor Vehicles instead of requiring them to fill out a form.”
That sound’s good right? Well, it depends on how you identify or qualify those who are eligible. Illegal Immigrants are allowed to obtain Drivers Licenses in the state of California, so when they go to the DMV to obtain it, they have to prove with documentation or lack thereof they are illegal right? That way they can be identified as ineligible and not be registered to vote right? Wrong.
Section 2263 (K) states as follows:
(K) A notation that the applicant has attested that he or she meets all voter eligibility requirements, including United States citizenship, specified in Section 2101.
The person applying for a Drivers License only has to “attest” that they meet all eligibility requirements in order to be registered to vote. No documentation is required to prove citizenship or legal status. Here is an example: I can attest that I have a 32 inch waist and weigh 165lbs, but that doesn’t make it true. That means a person can simply say “Yes” I am eligible and be registered to vote.
Now some have argued with us, that documentation can be requested as proof and if they are unable to provide it, they will be refused to register to vote. Wrong.
Section 2263 Clause (D) states as follows:
(d) The department shall not electronically provide records of a person who applies for or is issued a driver’s license pursuant to Section 12801.9 of the Vehicle Code because he or she is unable to submit satisfactory proof that his or her presence in the United States is authorized under federal law.
This means the person in the DMV will not be turned down for a Drivers License and voter registration after the DMV has noted an attestation to eligibility. Zero documentation is required.
California took the law a step further by covering repercussions and legal actions in the event an Illegal or ineligible voter actually votes.
Sections 2268 and Section 2269 states as follows:
If a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered to vote pursuant to this chapter in the absence of a violation by that person of Section 18100, that person’s registration shall be presumed to have been effected with official authorization and not the fault of that person.
If a person who is ineligible to vote becomes registered to vote pursuant to this chapter and votes or attempts to vote in an election held after the effective date of the person’s registration, that person shall be presumed to have acted with official authorization and shall not be guilty of fraudulently voting or attempting to vote pursuant to Section 18560, unless that person willfully votes or attempts to vote knowing that he or she is not entitled to vote.
Those two sections of the law essentially mean, that if the person “lied” or attested “incorrectly”, it is simply…”My Bad!”. Absolutely no legal action will be taken unless the government can somehow get the voter to start “attesting truth”…good luck with that…
Lastly, but most important of all, there are no voter ID laws in California. You do not have to present an ID to vote in the state of California so how could this law possibly be enforced, even if every Illegal Alien “told the truth”. The truth is, it can’t. Illegal Aliens will be allowed to vote in California because of this law. The Obama administration and it’s Justice Department already refuse to enforce existing immigration laws. They aren’t about to start now…especially in a state with 55 Electoral Votes.”
The U.S. Government Can Now Legally Access Your Facebook Data (And Now We Know How)
– ZeroHedge | Tyler Durden
“Submitted by Alice Salles via TheAntiMedia.org,
The end of the year is approaching, and data concerning government abuses of power has begun pouring in.
According to Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report, government’s requests for Facebook account data rose 27 percent in the first half of 2016.
Facebook’s official announcement explained that requests for user data went from 46,710 in the last half of 2015 to 59,229 in the first half of 2016. At least 56 percent of these requests, Facebook added, “contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user.”
Law enforcement agencies from across the globe, Facebook continued, often send restriction requests demanding Facebook remove content from its forums. Fortunately, these requests dropped substantially this year, from 55,827 in the last half of 2015 to 9,663 in 2016 — an 87 percent drop. Most of the 2015 requests revolved around “French content restrictions of a single image from the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacks.
Additionally, Facebook used its report to disclose for the first time what the company does when law enforcement agencies request “snapshots” of a user account that might be relevant to law enforcement for undisclosed reasons.
These “preservation requests,” as they are known, are requests to “preserve data pending receipt of formal legal process.” They are often processed by the social media website as snapshots, which are preserved temporarily. According to Facebook, the company does not “disclose any of the preserved records unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process.” In the first half of 2016, Facebook received 38,675 preservation requests regarding 67,129 accounts, a staggering number of requests.
Further, Facebook insisted it does not give law enforcement any “back doors” to user information. Adding that requests are only fulfilled if they meet legal requirements or “legal sufficiency,” as Facebook puts it, they claim to “apply a rigorous approach to every government request [they] receive to protect the information of the people who use [their] services,” the company added. But this rigorous approach is not rigorous enough if “reforms” designed to avoid privacy overreach in America simply don’t go far enough.
Take the USA Freedom Act, for instance. The 2015 law was once supported by libertarian-leaning congressmen like Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI). Later, however, Amash criticized the bill after changes giving government more power were adopted.
Mentioning the new rule by name, Facebook added that “as a result of transparency reforms introduced this year by the USA Freedom Act, our report also contains additional information concerning National Security Letters (NSLs).” NSLs are “extraordinary search procedures” that give the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the power to “compel the disclosure of customer records held by banks, telephone companies, Internet Service Providers, and others.” They are extraordinary because detailed information can be surrendered without proper oversight, an issue that has led to countless cases of abuse.”
A Very Sad-Looking Hillary Clinton Spotted Eating Breakfast at New York Resort
“Since Election Day, one of the favorite pastimes of the media has been to catch a glimpse of the person who was expected to be our President-elect. Following her shocking loss to Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton has largely stayed out of the public eye, making only a handful of appearances, such as Harry Reid’s portrait unveiling and a party for the millionaires who donated to her campaign.
With that in mind, we’ve been left largely with images snapped of Clinton by those who live in Chappaqua, New York, where Hillary resides. We’ve seen photos of her shopping and walking in the woods, and that’s about it. Saturday Night Live even made fun of this by doing a skit titled ‘The Hunt for Hill’ this month.
Well, today we got another candid image of Clinton, this time of her eating breakfast at the Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York. And she looked a bit down.
The New York Times’ Carolyn Ryan noted that the picture was taken by her ex-colleague, Mike Smith. Besides looking, well, sad, Clinton looking at her phone also led some to make jokes about emails and reference the famous image of her checking her phone as Secretary of State.”